Unstructured Finance

Check Out Line: Buying basics buoys big chains

Check out the ten largest U.S. retailers.

The National Retail Federation’s STORES magazine is out with its annual ranking of the top 100 retailers.

wal-mart-meat-shoppersThe list shows that U.S. consumers have been focused on bargains and basic necessities, such as food and medicine.  Wal-Mart tops the lineup, followed by Kroger and CostcoHome Depot fell from No. 2 in 2007 to the fourth spot in 2008 as many shoppers decided to cut back on costly home-improvement projects.

Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sears Holdings were the only members of the top 10 to see their revenue fall in 2008.

Some other rankings that may interest you: Amazon.com is the 19th largest retailer, ranking higher than well-known chains such as J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven and Gap.  Apple’s stores and iTunes combined hold the 40th spot, topping chains such as Nordstrom, Whole Foods and Barnes & Noble.

The companies were listed by annual revenue, which may include estimates for private or closely-held companies.  Revenue from major non-retail operations were excluded when possible.

Netflix tops customer satisfaction survey

NETFLIX-OUTAGE/Online retail may be outperforming brick-and-mortar rivals amid the U.S. recession, but that’s no reason to get complacent.

In a wake-up call to the industry, a new survey shows that customer satisfaction with online retailers declined 3 percent from last year.

The slipping satisfaction level uncovered in ForeSee Results’ Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index is a “remarkable trend,” according to its author.

Check Out Line: Online shopping woes

Check Out the drop in online sales.
Even online retailers are ready for 2008 to end. After we heard about the abysmal holiday season at stores, comScore said online sales for the holiday period up to Dec. 23 dropped 3 percent. It was the first decline in online spending since comScore started tracking online sales in 2001.
The end of 2008 will also mark the first quarter that online sales fell. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 28 e-commerce spending fell 4 percent to $36.8 billion, according to comScore. 
CIRCUITCITY/So who were the biggest winners and losers in December? Through Dec. 24, Hewlett Packard‘s online traffic in the U.S. rose 28 percent to more than 19.4 million unique visitors.  Apple, with more than 35 million visitors, saw its traffic rise 19 percent.  Meanwhile, traffic to Circuit City‘s site fell 21 percent.  Presumably shoppers were spooked after it filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would shut some stores. Dell‘s traffic was down 17 percent.  EBay was still the most popular site, though its traffic fell 4 percent to 85.4 million visitors.

Also in the basket:

Jobless claims drop by much more than expected

China dairy boss pleads guilty in melamine case

Bratz dolls to get reprieve, manufacturer says

Walmart Pulls Out of Nielsen’s PRISM (Advertising Age)

(Reuters photo)